Kate Middleton seen for 1st time since abdominal surgery and hospitalization

Kate was last seen publicly on Christmas Day.

March 6, 2024, 7:28 AM

Kate, the Princess of Wales, has been spotted publicly for the first time since undergoing abdominal surgery and recovering in the hospital for nearly two weeks in January.

Kate, 42, was photographed Monday being driven by her mother, Carole Middleton, near Windsor Castle.

The photograph was not released or authorized by Kensington Palace.

The new photograph of Kate came as online speculation continues to swirl about her health and well-being.

The mom-of-three and wife of Prince William was last seen publicly on Christmas Day, when she joined members of the royal family in walking to church in Sandringham, the royal family's estate in Norfolk, England.

Catherine, Princess of Wales, Princess Charlotte of Wales, Prince George of Wales, Prince William, Prince of Wales and Prince Louis of Wales attend Christmas Morning Service at Sandringham Church, Dec. 25, 2023, in Sandringham, England, U.K.
Samir Hussein/WireImage via Getty Images, FILE

Just a few weeks later, in mid-January, the palace announced that Kate had undergone "planned abdominal surgery" at The London Clinic, a hospital in London. The palace did not provide further details on the type of surgery Kate underwent on Jan. 16, but confirmed to ABC News that the princess's medical issue is non-cancerous.

Kate was hospitalized for nearly two weeks before continuing her recovery at her family's home in Windsor. The palace's announcement on Jan. 29, that Kate had been discharged from the hospital was one of the very few updates the palace has shared on her status.

Kate's absence from the public eye, as well as her husband recently missing a royal engagement because of a "personal matter," led to rampant speculation online about Kate's well-being.

Catherine, Princess of Wales attends The "Together At Christmas" Carol Service at Westminster Abbey, Dec. 8, 2023, in London.
Chris Jackson/Getty Images, FILE

On Feb. 29, a palace spokesperson told ABC News that Kate is "doing well" as she continues to recover.

The spokesperson brushed off recent social media speculation about Kate's health, telling ABC News in a statement, "Kensington Palace made it clear in January the timelines of the Princess' recovery and we'd only be providing significant updates. That guidance stands."

At the time of her surgery, the palace said Kate is not likely to resume her public duties until later this spring.

In past years, William and Kate and their children have been photographed walking to church together with other members of the royal family on Easter Sunday.

Members of the royal family will gather together again publicly in June for the annual Trooping the Colour celebration of King Charles III's birthday.

The U.K. Ministry of Defense said Tuesday that Kate will attend this year's celebration, but later removed her name and picture from the Army's advertisement of the Colonel's Review of Trooping the Colour. Kate's attendance has not been confirmed by Kensington Palace.

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